Rediscovered Radio

WYSO’s Audio Archives project began in 2009 when boxes of old magnetic tapes surfaced in a musty storeroom. With funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s American Archive Project and partnerships with the Greene County Library and other local organizations, over 200 hours of broadcasts, most from the 1960s and 70s, were cataloged and digitized. A project to collect oral histories to complement the recordings was also begun.

With support from Ohio Humanities*, the station has been airing this archival content since early 2014. The collection chronicles events at Antioch College, in Yellow Springs, around the Miami Valley and well beyond. We’ll hear the echoes of the civil rights movement as it morphed into many subsequent movements. We’ll sample news reports, interviews, documentaries, concerts, lectures, music shows, and other historic tape. We’ll listen for our collective present in the voices, and sometimes add contemporary commentary as we reflect on our progress (or lack thereof).

Archive Fellow Jocelyn Robinson worked on our year-long project to explore this audio treasure trove and share it with listeners. It’s “Rediscovered Radio: Historic Audio from the WYSO Archives.”

*This program is made possible, in part, by the Ohio Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in these programs do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Celebrating Black Women Writers

Feb 26, 2015
courtesy of the Central State University Archives

In the mid to late 1970s, WYSO broadcast the voices of three remarkable black women writers, and these tapes are preserved in the WYSO Archives. The work of Maya Angelou, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Alice Walker still resonates today. Rediscovered Radio’s Jocelyn Robinson reflects on these writers and their work.

One of my first tasks as the WYSO Archives Fellow was to listen to hours of digitized historic tape in order to mine the collection for hidden jewels, like a recording of the unmistakable voice of Maya Angelou reading her poem Harlem Hopscotch.

Bob Moore with Faith and John Morgan in the WYSO studios. arthur morgan
Jocelyn Robinson / WYSO

A few years back, Bob Moore of Yellow Springs took his kids to the public library where he found a shelf of books by local authors. There he discovered the writing of Arthur E. Morgan. Morgan’s creative and original thinking, reflected in these volumes, aroused Bob’s curiosity; he wondered about the voice of this man who had so much influence on the history of Yellow Springs and the Miami Valley, if there were any recordings of him speaking. Bob put the question to WYSO Curious. Hear the radio broadcast here:

courtesy of Antiochiana / Antioch College

Almost 50 years ago, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. came to Yellow Springs and Antioch College to address the graduates at his wife Coretta’s alma mater. WYSO News was there to cover the event, and this tape is one of the most significant recordings in the WYSO Archives.

Rediscovered Radio: Harold Wright's "Christmas Leaves"

Dec 24, 2014
Harold Wright in 1974
courtesy of Antiochiana / Antioch College

One of the best things about the WYSO Archives is the sheer variety of recordings we have. There are news reports, documentaries, radio dramas, and concerts, many from the early years of WYSO. Jocelyn Robinson of Rediscovered Radio brings us yet another holiday special, this one recorded over three decades ago, about a boy looking forward to celebrating the holidays with great anticipation.

Robert de Gast / courtesy of Antiochiana (Antioch College)

Many families have Christmas traditions that are passed from one generation to the next. From deep within the WYSO vault comes one family’s holiday ritual to share with our listeners once again: a reading of Dylan Thomas’ “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.”

Dylan Thomas was a colorful and influential writer of the mid 20th century, and 2014 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the Welsh poet’s birth. Archives Fellow Jocelyn Robinson brings us a look at one of his most famous literary works.

The WYSO Archives

Between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s, about three and a half million people migrated from Appalachia to the urban manufacturing centers of the Midwest. Over 40,000 came to the Dayton area from West Virginia, Tennessee, and especially Eastern Kentucky, seeking work at companies like National Cash Register, Frigidaire, and General Motors. They brought their culture and their music along with them. Archives Fellow Jocelyn Robinson brings us the rich mountain heritage in the WYSO audio collection, preserved through the efforts of three local brothers.

WYSO has aired lots of different kinds of music in its 56-year history, but folk music, the soundtrack of the 1960s, is particularly well represented in our audio archives. Students and volunteers recorded many folk concerts and festivals at Antioch College and elsewhere over the decades. Various members of the Seeger family - perhaps the most prominent family in American folk music in the late 20th century - are found frequently in our collection.

Looking Back On Johnson And The Great Society

Sep 5, 2014

Fifty years ago, in November 1964, President Lyndon Johnson won reelection in a landslide victory, and Congress, too, was overwhelmingly Democratic. During the Johnson presidency, a number of landmark social programs were passed into law:  Medicare, Head Start, the federal food stamp program, the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act, too.

Remembering Civil Rights Advocate Anne Braden

Aug 27, 2014
Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research, University of Louisville

Americans are grappling again with issues of social justice and racial equality, in light of the shooting of an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. And here in the Miami Valley the same issues are in the headlines, since John Crawford III was shot by police in a Beavercreek Walmart store on August 5.

Honoring the Ancestors: Bing’s Birthday Card

Jun 29, 2014
Jocelyn Robinson / WYSO

We see the work of Dayton artist Willis “Bing” Davis hanging in banks, boardrooms, libraries, and concert halls throughout the Miami Valley. His art is full of color and movement, and is based on themes he’s been exploring for decades.

Archives Fellow Jocelyn Robinson found a 1981 interview with Bing Davis in the archives here at WYSO. And to celebrate the artist’s 76th birthday she some of the original recording and brings us up to date with the artist’s signature series.

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